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Students’ poetry readings attract national writers
H. Drew Blackburn
Senior Staff Writer
Two established poets, Stephen Danos and Alex Lemon, are part of an evolving Saturday night bar scene. This weekend they traveled to Paschall’s Bar to participate in two students’ literary venture.
The Kraken Reading Series is a monthly poetry reading series that features two poets from around the country, created and hosted by doctoral English students Kyle McCord and Justin Bigos.
“We really felt like there was a desire to hear visiting poets who were maybe in their early stages,” McCord said.
Danos, who is from Seattle, won the University and College Prize in 2010, and has had his work published in the Columbia Poetry Review and iO Poetry. He and McCord met at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop during their undergrad years and have kept in touch since.
Lemon, a professor at Texas Christian University whose writing has appeared in Esquire, Best American Poetry 2008 and The Southern Review, said he was honored to read his work at the series.
“I think Denton’s really an exciting place, beyond just the literary community – just the arts in general,” Lemon said.
Aside from exposing emerging poets, Bigos and McCord created the series to shed a light on UNT’s creative writing program and Denton’s literary community.
“Because of the great writers in the UNT program and the students, it’s grown tremendously,” said Jonathan Savage, English senior and Kraken Reading Series intern.
While his duties mostly include “moving stuff,” Savage said he got involved because of the opportunity to see great writers like Danos and Lemon.
“It’s just a way of propagating art in Denton,” Savage said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
He said he has also seen the literary community grow because of events like the Kraken Reading Series and the similar Spiderweb Salon.
“The more serious people can be and pack the venue, the more we should do it,” Bigos said. “There are enough talented poets and hungry poets out there.”
The poets also receive tangible perks, like free beer at Oakstreet Drafthouse, complimentary cocktails at Paschall’s and a $10 coupon from Recycled.
“That way they get to get a flavor of Denton,” McCord said.
Visiting poets have to pay their way here but the two directors house the writers while they’re in town.
Danos said that Paschall’s is a great venue for readings and that he is impressed by Denton’s literary scene.
“From what I’ve seen it’s starting to explode a little bit,” Danos said. “It’s starting to be a thing that’s turning people’s heads.”